Comedian Jim Gaffigan has enjoyed a long and successful career, both on stage and on camera, but his latest stand-up special, Noble Ape, displays an openness not yet seen from his hour-long specials. Unpacking personal details surrounding his wife’s health scare and his potential retirement from comedy, Gaffigan shows new levels of vulnerability while turning the most tumultuous period of his life into public therapy through humor.
Gaffigan’s wife and writing partner Jeanie was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year, and the prospect of her condition worsening or her possible death forced him to contemplate retirement to take care of their five children. As that struggle continues, Gaffigan’s sixth hour-long special finds him seeking catharsis as he offers insight into the past year of his family’s lives. “Finding the humor in Jeannie’s brain tumor was not only therapeutic, but I soon realized it resonated with audiences. We’ve all been in those moments of medical crisis and it’s good to laugh about it,” said Gaffigan.
It’s unknown if Noble Ape will be the last hour-long special for Gaffigan, but he’s relishing every chance he gets to take the stage, knowing that the future is unknown. “I always love it, but when you’re faced with the reality—‘Oh, my gosh, I might not be able to do this the way I’ve been doing it’—there’s a greater appreciation,” Gaffigan told USA Today.
Noble Ape debuts in theaters and through the Comedy Dynamics Network, which feeds into iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and a litany of other on-demand services—with the notable exception of Netflix—on July 13. Revisit our recent interview with Gaffigan here and see the Noble Ape trailer below.